Sunday, 01 August 2021

F Faith and Fitness

Faith, Fitness, and Depression

This column is dedicated to those who struggle with anxiety, depression, panic disorders, or any other type of mental disorder that is debilitating.  This is just as real as any physical ailment!  I am continually amazed at how God designed and created our bodies to be self healing...even mentally...if we treat our bodies right!

He created ways for us to help keep ourselves strong both mentally and physically.  Exercise most definitely helps us through these mental disorders and physical ailments!  It makes us stronger in every way!  The following was written by one of my clients who struggles with depression...and rightfully so!  Circumstances in her life brought this depression upon her and it is a constant battle.  Let her words inspire you and encourage you to know that there is help in the middle of your storm...exercise being one!

"The question has been asked of me more times than I can number, “Does fitness training really help you with your battle against depression”? My answer is most definitely. Matter of fact it has been what I call my miracle drug. I can’t respond to you in medical terms of all the benefits which are many because I am not a doctor but as a person that has battled depression since 2008 when I tragically lost my 23 yr old son I can speak from experience.  In my journey I have been in awe of how fearfully and wonderfully made that our Lord has truly made us which the psalmist referenced in Psalm 139:14 offering praise to our Lord for doing so. As I not only lost my son but I also witnessed the horrific event,  I was recommended to see a counselor quickly afterward  for a period of six weeks. I was very reluctant because the counselor was not per say a “Christian Counselor”, but a doctor at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta. My fears were I didn’t know his beliefs and what his ideas of recovery would be for this event. However we serve such a great God it was already under control of course. When I meet the counselor and introduced myself and my husband and explained to him that my husband was a Pastor, he quickly announced himself as a Christian which made me feel so much better in reference to the days ahead as we would share our hearts and story with him. One of the first things that he explained to me is although I had witnessed the event and though it was horrific that God made our brains that it would only remember so much and it would protect itself to not go to far in other words, once again if we look and listen in our life we find God’s Word continually proving to be true as in 1 Corinthians 10:13. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.  In our lives we are tempted to be fearful and overwhelmed but the scripture clearly tells us that we will not be tempted above that we are able to bare and to me that verse completely lined up with the doctor explaining to me that God created our minds to block out the things that would be overwhelming and bring fear in my life and gave me a way of escape. I know that I am giving a lot of information but I am doing so in hopes that someone may be able to relate to maybe some of the events or fears and find encouragement that God will give you the strength to overcome.                             

Our next steps were to discuss what we were going to do to help knock the edge off some of the pain that was in my life. I was of course offered not only by this counselor but every doctor I have ever seen any medications I could possibly want, if I wanted them. The doctor’s would explain that it is ok and that sometimes we need something to help us in such tragic and stressful times. I have never been one to take anything, it is a miracle to get me to take Tylenol. So I said thank you but not thank you. With that being said I am not critical, judgmental or have any issues at all with someone that has or does take something for depression, I just didn’t want anything that I felt like I may become dependent upon.  The doctor graciously accepted my response but stated that you are going to have to do something. That is when he said you have got to do some type of physical fitness. So I didn’t immediately run out and start an exercise program, I was in shock, hurting and very shaken. However over time, I started taking baby steps toward physical fitness. It was just a little at a time and it was hard. It took perseverance and determination. I would pray to myself through whatever exercise or run I was attempting. I would start telling God how I thanked him for the temple that he gave me that He dwells in. I would tell Him how I didn’t want to take it for granted. I would ask Him to help me take care of my body for my good and His glory. I know this may sound silly but I would tell him in my prayers, Lord I am not going to try and lie to you because you know my heart anyway, I do want to look better physically but most of all I want to be healthy not just physically but mentally. I promised Him that I would not bring shame to Him if he would help me that it wasn’t about showing off my body but being grateful for abilities and opportunities that some would love to have but are in wheelchairs, or have other physical conditions that don’t have the privilege that I have.

 As this journey continued, where I could see no future, I began to make plans for the future. Where I once could not smile, I began to laugh. I came to a place that all the tears that came down my face weren’t only from sadness but tears of joy as well. I remember the first 5k I ran; I guess it was about three years after the death of my son. When I crossed the finish line all I could think about is I did it! I did it! God not only did you give me the strength physically but mentally to accomplish something that I had never done in my life in the most difficult time of my life.

Columnist: Kellye Davis Williams


Kellye Davis Stellman is a personal trainer, gym owner, and certified Life Coach who focuses on the health and well being of her clients as well as coaching them to make positive changes that will impact the rest of their lives.  She helps them achieve their health and fitness goals as well as encourages them to strive for and achieve their “life goals” with her message of hope. 

Kellye resides in East Atlanta with her husband Keith.  She has 4 daughters and 3 grandchildren.  She is an active member of The Tabernacle Church.  In her spare time she loves traveling, spending time with her husband and daughters, shopping, and simply enjoying coffee with friends. 



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